Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Spotlight: The Big Show Stopper by Ken Dalton

Brady Blackstone, America's richest and favorite concert performer, dies in a tragic accident while Bear and Flo, along with thousands of northern Nevada's music lovers, look on in horror. However, before Bear can maneuver Flo back to their apartment to complete her birthday celebration, they stumble across a clue that makes them question if Brady's death was an accident.

Read an excerpt!


Bear Zabarte—Carson City, Nevada

When Flo barfed her birthday dinner all over the floor, nobody, not even my chicken-shit boss, Pinky, would have gotten
pissed-off, at least not if they’d known what led up to it.

Saturday was Flo’s thirty-something birthday. All day I’d treated her like she was the Queen of Sheba ‘cause when Flo’s the center of attention, she’s happier than a pig standing belly-deep in mud.

For dinner I took her to the High Roller’s Buffet at the Nugget Casino, the best all-you-can-eat spread in northern Nevada. Flo loaded up her plate with some king crab legs, a chicken enchilada covered with that spicy green sauce, a few jumbo shrimps, and a giant heap of green salad. I followed behind her, grabbed the same, except I dumped less salad on my plate to leave room for a thick hunk of roast beef, and a slab of barbequed spare ribs.

After dinner, some of the “Three Card Poker” dealers serenaded my babe with Happy Birthday, and then for the big finish, I drove her to the new Carson City Expo Center so Flo could see the Brady Blackstone concert.

Shit, if it hadn’t been Flo’s birthday, I wouldn’t have wasted my time or money going to a Blackstone concert. The tickets started at sixty bucks, and that was for a hard seat in the nosebleed section. Besides, watching Brady Blackstone prance around the stage didn’t turn me on anymore. Don’t get me wrong. I used to be a big fan back in the days when he played his guitar and sang so sweet. Then he got to be a Country-Rock star with hit records, and a big-time concert tour. I didn’t go for the new Brady, but I had to admit that taking in two million a concert wasn’t bad money.

According to Flo, in the history of the whole damn world, there were only two performers worth paying money to see—Elvis Presley and Brady Blackstone. She was so crazy about those two dudes that when she moved into my place the very first thing she did was stick up two 8x10 photos over her side of the bathroom sink. And every morning, before she jumped into the shower, she’d light a candle below the pictures of her two heroes. So when I heard that the Brady Blackstone concert tour was coming to Carson City, I knew, one way or another, she’d be there. Sure enough, Flo came up with two free tickets.

The big question is why am I so damn broke that I can’t scrounge up two Benjamins for a pair of concert tickets?

Everything started out okay after Flo moved in. I’d pick up a few days of work for Pinky and then I’d tend bar three or four nights around Carson City. Pinky paid me more than tending bar but I still wasn’t bringing in enough to keep Flo happy.

What did she need? Shit, a list of what she didn’t want would be shorter. One of the first things Flo did when she moved into my place was to find a beauty parlor and make an appointment to get her hair done and a manicure every damn week! I got my hair cut four times a year and looked okay. So her hair-do every week seemed like a lot of wasted scratch to me, but Flo promised me that a weekly trip to the beauty parlor was something all broads did.

While tending bar, I’d cover some of my shortage through tips and skimming a bit from the register, but now I’m broke all the time ‘cause Pinky put the screws to me. He found out I was doing some bartending on the side and he didn’t like that. Pinky told me to quit bartending or he’d fire me. Shit, I was between a rock and a hard spot. With Flo around, I needed to bring in three thousand a month just to keep my nose above water. Pinky paid me a hundred and fifty a day, plus expenses, so I had to work five days a week to make my nut.

So now you know why I was a little short on cash and had to depend on Flo to come up with the Blackstone concert tickets.

How’d she pull it off? It turned out that Alice Spurlock, the broad who did Flo’s hair every week, had a son, Jack, who worked in Brady Blackstone’s backstage crew. That was all Flo needed.

“Omigod!” Flo shouted to Alice. “Except for Elvis, Brady is my all-time favorite singer. I'll do just about anything to see him before I die.”

Flo told me that Alice stopped right there, in the middle of washing Flo’s hair, dried her hands, grabbed the phone, and called her son. Then she handed Flo the phone and inside of thirty seconds my babe had conned Jack Spurlock out of two free backstage passes to the Blackstone concert.

I tried to get out of going with her, but Flo let me know that if I stayed home and watched a baseball game on TV, our sex life would dry up faster than a fence post in the desert. So I said sure I’d go and now after a great dinner, I pulled into the Expo parking lot ready to see Brady Blackstone, in the flesh, in style, and for free.

Being as I come from a long line of dumb Basque sheepherders, I didn’t have a clue just how good backstage passes are, but as soon as we drove into the parking lot, I learned real fast. The parking dude took one look at the tickets and said, “Yes, sir, just follow the VIP signs on your left.” I did and pretty soon another guy waved us over to a parking place about twenty feet from a door. Jack Spurlock was waiting inside, and he showed us all around the backstage area, even the bathroom where Brady Blackstone himself had once parked his royal butt on the throne.When she heard that, Flo’s eyes lit up like a pinball machine. I figured that before the evening was out, she’d find a way to get in there, sashaying along in Brady’s footsteps, I guess you’d call it.

After showing us the rack that held all of Brady’s guitars for the show, Jack glanced at his watch and said, “Before I take you to the hospitality area, I’m going to let you in on a little secret concerning Brady’s entrance. Before we open the arena, Brady and I go inside a black box sitting on the ground floor located in the center of the audience. We wait there and he drinks wine until the warm-up acts are over. Once the band starts his entrance music, I help Brady onto a chair that carries him over the audience to the stage.”

Seemed kind of weird to me, but Flo said, “Wow, I can hardly wait.”

Jack’s tour ended up at the hospitality spot where all the people with backstage passes could get free beer and free guacamole and chips. But the best part was that our backstage pass got us into ‘Brady’s Corral’, a roped-off section between the rest of the audience and the front of the stage. Flo told me we were standing where a fancy orchestra would be if we were going to watch an opera, like I’d ever go to an opera!

Brady’s Corral was cool. I could drink beer and rest my elbow on the stage. Before he left, Jack gave us earplugs and warned us to use them, ‘cause the giant speakers were so close that the pounding noise might melt the fillings in your teeth.

The warm-up acts? They weren’t so bad, but they weren’t great either. I was on my third beer when the band started to play and a cute redhead bounced onstage. I had heard her name once before, because she had won one of those stupid TV talent shows. Her back-up band was okay, a little too loud, but okay. Once the redhead hit her first note though, I’d heard enough. I put in the earplugs Jack gave us and headed back to the hospitality spot for another beer. I knew warm-up acts were generally second rate, but the redhead couldn’t sing her way out of a wet paper bag. For the next ten minutes I kept my earplugs in, drank beer, and concentrated on her bouncing boobs.

After the no-talent babe, the next act up was Kyle Roubidoux. He was a young good-looking dude in a pair of jeans so tight that I thought his zipper was going to explode. I could tell all the women thought Kyle was sexy. He sang a bunch of pretty good songs, and Flo went wobbly-kneed every time he flashed his baby-blues in her direction.

The audience was pretty charged up when it was finally time for Brady to make his grand entrance. The lights went out. The band got real loud. The crowd screamed. A spotlight caught Brady Blackstone as he cruised over the heads of the audience toward center stage. About the time I thought the thing he was riding on should be slowing down, it seemed to speed up and Brady crashed head first into a metal beam holding up one side of a giant TV screen. A chunk of something flew across the stage and smacked Flo on the arm. She gave me a nasty look, like she thought I’d done it.

I yelled over the band, “Didn’t touch you, Babe.”

She brushed at her arm, like she was trying to shoo away a fly, then stared at her hand. It was covered with blood, a wad of brain, and some black hair.

Her mouth fell open and she looked down on the floor where a super-sized burger hunk of Brady Blackstone’s scalp had ended up. The color in Flo’s cheeks drained away faster than a toilet could flush, and she hurled her High Roller’s Buffet dinner all over that hunk of head lying there. Flo started to crumple, like her backbone had turned to Cream of Wheat. I caught her before she hit the deck and pulled her away from the bloody mess on the floor.

I said, “You’ll be okay, Babe. Hell, if that nasty thing had hit me in the arm, I’d have barfed, too.”

I looked up just in time to see the rest of Brady Blackstone’s body slip to the stage. That was when the whole place went nuts and twenty thousand Brady fans started to scream and yell out their hero’s name as they figured out Brady lying there might not be part of the act. Finally the band stopped playing and a deathly silence settled over the arena.

A guy in a suit ran onstage and bent over Brady’s body. He whispered something in Brady’s ear, nodded, and then grabbed a mike.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Brady’s had a little accident, but don’t worry, he told me he’s okay.”

Two guys rolled a stretcher onstage and the suit blocked the view of most of the audience as they lifted Brady’s body on top the stretcher.

The suit stood up and said, “As a precautionary measure, an ambulance will take Brady to a nearby hospital where he’ll be checked out. I’m sorry, folks, but the concert is over. Please exit the arena in an orderly manner.”

I looked at the slab of brain on the floor. “Babe, the suit’s feeding the crowd a crock of bull. Nobody could lose that much of his head and live.”

The suit followed the dudes as they pushed the stretcher off stage and the house lights went up. The stunned audience stood and started to clear out. Some of the women were sobbing as they inched their way up the aisles toward the doors of the arena.

Flo looked at me. “But he said Brady’s okay.”

“He had to say that or he’d never get the crowd to leave this place.”

The color slowly returned to Flo’s face. “So you’re pretty sure Brady’s dead?”

I wrapped my arm around her. Flo wanted me to say no, but I’d rather she heard the truth from me. “I’m afraid so.”

Her lip quivered, she took a deep breath, and flicked a tear off her cheek with her finger. “I’m okay now. Let’s get out of here.”

Out of the blue I heard a man’s voice say, “If it isn’t Bear Zabarte. I should have known you’d be hanging around. You and dead people just seem to go together.”

Shit, it was Detective Ice Conner, the lowest of all Carson City’s cops. Me and that bastard never got along and I wanted to punch his lights out, but I knew this wasn’t the time or the place. For Flo’s sake, this being her birthday, and now in mourning for Brady, I tried to be nice. “What are you doing here, Ice?”

“Picked me up a good paying moonlighting job. I’m in charge of security for the concert.” He stepped closer and his eyes bugged out as he took his sweet time casing out Flo. “Who’s the broad?”

I growled, “She’s no broad, damn it. This is my lady friend, Flo.”

Ice turned his head and smiled. “Pardon me, ma’am, I think Bear forgot to introduce us. My name is Detective William L. Conner.”

Flo dried her eyes and said, “How do you do. My name is Florence Sonderlund.”

I stepped between them and said, “Ice, got any idea what happened to Brady?”

“Don’t have a clue. Looked to me like some kind of chair malfunction. Hell, I just read last week that every year there’s a pot-full of skiers accidentally killed riding those damn chairlifts.” His eyes locked on Flo’s massive rack. “Pleased to meet you, ma’am. Excuse me, but I’ve got to head to the lobby to make sure all the doors are locked after everybody leaves.”

I said, “See you around, Ice.”

He flashed me his high-power death stare. I don’t think he liked me calling him Ice in front of Flo.

Before the bastard walked up the aisle, he leaned toward me and whispered, “I hear you’re working for that shrimp shyster, Pinky Delmont. Bear, I know we’ve had a few disagreements in the past, but if that chicken-shit lawyer throws more work at you than you can handle, I’m available to pick up some of the excess.”

“Oh sure, I’ll call you.”

I closed my trap before the rest of what I wanted to say flew out - yeah, I’ll do that when elephants fly! Shit, Ice Conner couldn’t solve a murder if the killer strangled his victim while the two of them stood between first and second base during a World Series baseball game.

Eventually, Ice figured out that I knew all he was doing was staring at Flo’s boobs. He turned, licking his lips, and walked up the aisle toward the lobby.

Read the reviews!

"If you love a good mystery that will keep the page turning and the laughs rolling, grab a copy of Dalton's 4 star novel, The Big Show Stopper. Dalton's talent can be seen immediately and will hook you till the finish."

--Book Reviews by Molly

"...if you like fun murder mysteries without a lot of violence in them, this is the perfect book for you. Full of interesting relationships and lively characters, The Big Show Stopper is sure to impress readers."

--Crystal Fulcher

"The Big Show Stopper is a mystery that will be hard to put down."

--Midwest Book Reviews


Ken Dalton was born in 1938. In a turn of bad luck, the dreaded Polio virus found Ken. At the end of World War II, Ken's family moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming for a year where he learned how to live through snow blizzards, avoid walking through the large pile of coal in the basement, and how to survive life as an Army Officer's brat on a base called Fort Warren.

By the age of sixteen, after eleven years of operations, therapy, and braces, Ken's luck changed dramatically when he met the girl of his dreams at a party. A few years later they married, produced three wonderful children, and settled into a happy life in Southern California.

In 1966, Ken, who worked as a technician for Pacific Bell, and his family left Southern California for the green hills of Sonoma County where they bought a home in Sebastopol surrounded with apple trees. A few years later, Ken and Arlene built a new home on three and a half acres. They raised cows, pigs, and learned how to build outstanding fences. While their children grew, they hosted two exchange students, Eva Reimers from Sweden, and Tanja Wuttke from Germany, both of whom are still loved members of the Dalton clan. Also during those years, Ken was promoted to management at Pacific Bell. He eventually ended up responsible for all the central offices, sixty-three, in an area that covered five counties.

In 1977, Ken, Arlene, Bob Wiltermood, and his wife Norma, designed, built, and operated a 2000 case winery named Pommeraie Vineyards. They produced award winning Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. However, after Bob died, the winery was sold. Ken and Arlene moved to a hilltop in Healdsburg.

With the winery gone, and time on their hands, Ken and Arlene started to perform with the Camp Rose Players. Twenty years and forty productions later, both are still acting and singing.

Life was good. All Ken had to do was learn some lines and bow when the audience applauded.

Then, ten years ago, in a moment of madness, Ken started to write. His first article was published in Golf Illustrated in August 1996. More golf articles followed in national and regional magazines including Golf Magazine and Fairways and Greens.

After a two-year stint on the County Grand Jury, Ken felt the need to begin his first novel.

Now, after a decade of struggle to learn the craft of writing, Ken has become the publishing world's latest overnight sensation.

Visit Ken online at

Follow Ken's blog tour at

Pump Up Your Book! Announces March ‘11 Authors on Virtual Book Tours


Join a talented and diverse group of 26 authors who are touring with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Tours during the month of March 2011.

Follow these authors as they travel the blogosphere from March 1st through March 25th to discuss their books. You’ll find everything from memoirs to business books, historical novels to thrillers, children’s books to young adult novels and more!

The month of March is filled with returning authors. Lisa Gardner is back to promote her latest Detective D.D. Warren novel, “Love You More.” Also returning is Lou Aronica and his fantasy novel, “Blue,” Dr. Jennifer Freed with “Lessons from Stanley the Cat,” Diana Gabaldon with her historical romance sci-fi adventure novel, “Outlander,” Cynthia Kocialski’s business book, “Start Up from the Ground Up,” James LePore’s thriller, “Anyone Can Die,” and Allan Leverone and his thriller, “Final Vector.”

Pamela Samuels Young continues her virtual book tour for the legal thriller, “Murder on the Down Low,” and coming back for her eighth virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book! is F.M. Meredith. She’ll be promoting the latest book in her Rocky Bluff P.D. series, “Angel Lost.” Kath Russell is back to promote her coming of age historical, “Deed So.” Elle Newmark is back with a new book, “The Sandalwood Tree.” Sheila Hendrix also returns with her YA paranormal, “The Betrayal.”
Memoirs come to you from Barry Fixler and Megan van Eyck, while historical novels are being promoted by John Milton Langdon and Paula McLain. Other fiction titles come to you from Laurel Dewey, Emily Sue Harvey, and Laina Turner-Molaski. Also on tour is Kristina McMorris and her women’s fiction novel, “Letters from Home.”

Barbara Barnett tours with “Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D.,” while Caitlin Rother promotes her true crime book, “Dead Reckoning.” Also on tour in March are Borneo Tom McLaughlin, Emma K. Piers, and Hayley Rose. Turner-Molaski will also tour during the second half of the month with, “The MS Project: Orange is the New Pink”, her MS awareness anthology. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go to support the MS Society.

Visit Pump Up Your Book! on YouTube at  to view a video trailer introducing our authors on tour in March.

Pump Up Your Book! is a virtual book tour agency for authors who want quality service at an affordable price. More information can be found on their website at

Contact Information:

Dorothy Thompson
Founder of Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tours
P.O. Box 643
Chincoteague, Virginia 23336

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Book Review: The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn

With The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson: A Novel, award-winning author Jerome Charyn dares to dig deeper into the life of a woman who has captivated readers for generations.

Inspired by Dickinson's letters and poetry, this novel blends fact and fiction in a seamless way that allows the reader to believe every word Charyn has written is how it occurred.

The book opens in 1848, with a young Emily Dickinson as a seminarian at Mount Holyoke, where she falls in love with a fictional handyman known as Tom. Her fixation with Tom would follow her through much of her her life, despite the attention paid to her by other men.

Dickinson serves as the narrator of this tale, and Charyn emulated her voice to tell the story. The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson is not a book you will race through. While daring and bold, it's best to be treated like a cold glass of water after a strenuous activity--sipped, rather than gulped.

Some may be opposed to the liberties Charyn took in portraying the "Queen Recluse," but I found he painted a fascinating picture of one of my favorite poets. Admittedly, the book held additional charm to me because I live not far from where Dickinson grew up in Amherst and I attend a writers conference at Mount Holyoke every year. To see names, places, and publications I am so familiar with, made me feel at home when reading the book. It also inspired me to delve further into Dickinson's real life.

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson portrays a passionate, witty woman who lived life fully, despite the confines of the society and times within which she was born and lived.

Title:  The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson: A Novel
Author: Jerome Charyn
Publisher:  W.W. Norton and Company

Price: $14.95
ISBN: 9780393339178
Pages: 352
Release: February 14, 2011

Price: $24.95
ISBN: 9780393068566
Pages: 348
Release: February 22, 2010

Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at Barnes and Noble
Purchase for Kindle
Purchase for Nook

Read an excerpt at Amazon!

Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”

Since the 1964 release of Charyn’s first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009.

In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn’s book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, "The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong."

Charyn lives in Paris and New York City. Visit him online at:




The book's Facebook page:

The book's Twitter page:

The publisher's website:

I received a copy of this book through Nicole at Tribute Books and the author. This review contains my honest opinion, for which I received no monetary compensation.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Portrait Giveaway Ending Soon!

The last day to enter our giveaway for The Portait by Hazel Statham is tomorrow. All comments must be posted by 11:59 PM Eastern.

If you or someone you know enjoys Regency romance, you won't want to miss this one. Click here for details!

Good luck to all who enter.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Reminder: Facebook Party Starts Tonight at 9 PM Eastern!


Pump Up Your Book will be hosting the February 2011 Authors on Tour on Friday February 25, 2011 at 9 – 11 p.m. (eastern time – adjust to your time zone). Tell your book friends that not only will this give them an opportunity to chat with their favorite authors BUT…


The participating authors and their giveaways include:

Rose Valenta is giving away a paperback copy of her humor book, Sitting on Cold Porcelain.

Allan Leverone is giving away an e-copy of his thriller, Final Vector, and 6 e-copies of Postcards from the Apocalypse.

Frank Edwards is giving away a paperback copy of his medical thriller, Final Mercy and a paperback copy of his poetry and short story book, It’ll Ease the Pain.

Pamela Samuels Young will be giving away a paperback copy of her legal thriller, Murder on the Down Low, and a copy of her audio CD, How to Write a Novel Despite Your Day Job.

Sheila Hendrix will be giving away both a paperback copy and e-book copy of her YA paranormal, The Betrayal.

Cynthia Kocialski will be giving away a paperback copy of her startup business book, Startup from the Ground Up.

C.W. Gortner will be giving away a paperback copy of his historical mystery, The Tudor Secret.

Vincent Zandri will be giving away 2 autographed copies of his thriller, Moonlight Falls & 2 autographed copies of his thriller, The Remains!

Jeanne C. Davis will be giving away a paperback copy of her psychological mystery, Sheetrock Angel!

Frank Scully will be giving away an e-copy of his mystery novel, Resurrection Garden!

Pump Up Your Book will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift certificate!!!!

To find out the details, visit our Facebook Party page here! Be sure to join the link a few days ahead of time so that you can be approved before the party starts.

Book Review: The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner

Be swept into a world of half-truths, lies, and murder in The Tudor Secret, by acclaimed historical novelist, C.W. Gortner.

It is the summer of 1553. The foundling, Brendan Prescott, who was raised by the powerful Dudley family, is summoned to court to be the squire to Robert Dudley. The Dudleys had never shown him any kindness in the past, so he approaches his new role with a heavy dose of trepidation.

A chance meeting with Princess Elizabeth finds Brendan drawn into the middle of the danger and intrigue that surrounds her world. Her brother, King Edward VI, is dying, and Elizabeth is determined to see him, despite those who wish to capture her and her half-sister, Princess Mary, to prevent them from ever taking the throne.

Brendan is promised the key to unlocking the secrets to his mysterious past; but with the help of an orphaned stable-boy and a lady-in-waiting, his primary goal is to protect Princess Elizabeth, at any and all cost.

I've read Gortner's The Last Queen and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. I helped the author promote the latter of the two. Since the first book, I have been a huge fan of his work, so I was thrilled when he contacted me and requested my help in promoting his latest release.

While Gortner's previous novels have focused on strong women who defied convention, the spotlight of The Tudor Secret, is a fictional male character with a mysterious past who becomes an important player in protecting Princess Elizabeth and her half-sister Princess Mary. Though Elizabeth is a dominant figure throughout the story, for the first time, Gortner places his bet upon his a character of his own imagination to carry the day. And carry the day, he did.

Brendan is a sympathetic character from the start. A foundling, he was raised by the powerful Dudleys. It is odd that he would be brought to court by those who seemed to despise him. Brendan soon becomes entangled in a plot that involves the Dudleys, the dying King Edward VI, Elizabeth, and her protector, William Cecil. He is instantly taken by the Princess, and pledges his life to her service.

Along the way, Brendan meets Peregrine, an orphaned stable boy who brings back memories of his youth. Peregrine became one of my favorite characters. I'm hoping we see more of him as this series progresses.

Gortner has always had an eloquent style, but here he loosens the reins a bit and provides the reader with a lighter, and superbly told story of intrigue and suspense. When you believe you've uncovered the secrets, a new twist is introduced, which begs you to continue reading, no matter the hour.

I truly enjoyed The Tudor Secret and am eager for the release of the next book. Lovers of historical fiction, the Tudor era, and stories filled with action and suspense, will want to pick up a copy of this one.

Title:  The Tudor Secret (The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles)
Author:  C.W. Gortner
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN-10: 0312658508
ISBN-13: 978-0312658502
SRP:  $14.99 (paperback)

Also available in a hardcover, audio, and a Kindle edition.

The author paid me to promote The Tudor Secret through a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book! I received no monetary compensation to provide this review.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: Resurrection Garden by Frank Scully

If you're looking for a superb historical murder mystery with a touch of romance, you'll find it in Resurrection Garden by Frank Scully.

Jake Turner is a lone drifter trying to escape a past that seems to catch up with him no matter where he goes. A veteran of the charge up San Juan Hill, he has earned a reputation that he can't shake.

It's 1904 in North Dakota, and Jake is a part-time Deputy Sheriff. When he stumbles upon the frozen, brutally murdered body of Hjelmer “Thor” Thorsgaard, he sure doesn't get a lot of help from the townsfolk to figure out who might have wanted Thor dead. Seems everyone in Badger had a reason. The guy was a liar and a cheat who abused his family. Even his wife isn't sorry he's gone.

Jake feels the yearning to move on, especially when he becomes attached to Andy, an eight-year-old orphan boy, and begins to fall in love with his friend Issac's sister, Alice. When Andy is kidnapped and almost murdered, Jake is certain that whoever is behind Thor's death wants him out of the way, and they don't care who they have to hurt to make sure that happens.

He returns to Cuba, hoping to keep those he cares for out of danger. Though he knows he'll return to trap Thor's killer, Jake has no idea what will happen when all the dust settles.

In case you've somehow missed it, I'm a big fan of mysteries and I love historical fiction. That Resurrection Garden was able to blend two of my favorite genres into a well-written, intriguing novel, is a bonus over how much I truly enjoyed this book.

Resurrection Garden is Scully's debut novel, and the first book in his Decade Mystery series. Having read this book, I can barely wait until the next one is released in June.

In this riveting murder mystery, Scully has pulled together the wildness of the West, rich descriptions, a well-developed plot, and a menagerie of complex characters to come up with a winner. I expect this kind of writing from seasoned authors, so it is always a delight when a debut novel captivates me in this fashion. Simply put, I couldn't lay the book down. I stole every waking moment, and even moments when I should have been sleeping, to read this one. Just when I thought I had this one figured out, I discovered I was only partially right. I don't mind being fooled when such a satisfying ending is involved.

Guys shouldn't let the hint of romance turn them off this one. It's subtle and is crucial to Jake's development. As expected in a book set during this time period, there are plenty of bullets flying, and the situations Jake manages to get himself in can be a bit humorous.

Lovers of westerns, historical fiction, and murder mysteries will want to grab this one.

Title:  Resurrection Garden
Author: Frank Scully
Publisher:  MuseItUp Publishing
ASIN: B004HO6A90
SRP:  $5.95

If you don't believe me, read some of the other wonderful things that have been read about this book:

“I love mysteries and usually am not a fan of the western genre, but I enjoyed the Resurrection Garden. There was just the right combination of the Old West meets mystery with a wee bit of romance thrown in. Mr. Scully’s written word allows one to feel the dust as the characters are riding away, feel the hardness of the wood beds, see the tumbleweeds roll around us. I felt as if I was right in all of the action as I was reading Resurrection Garden, whether I was recouping with Jake, or investigating. Mr. Scully’s secondary characters are fun. He provides strong visuals as well as he stimulates other senses, for example: You can even smell Andy from the months without a bath.

Resurrection Garden is both a charming western and mystery. Thumbs up!”

–Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D.

"It's a great western adventure with great suspense, some fast paced action scenes, wonderful small town drama, and great romance. It's an all around entertaining book."

--Life in Review

"Author Scully has done a fantastic job in creating this very realistic mystery in a by-gone era. I loved this book and I highly recommend to all mystery lovers and those who enjoy a good Western."

--Marilyn Meredith, author of the award-winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series 

"I found myself enthralled with this tale. The mystery was well developed and had a very satisfying resolution. It was very heartwarming to watch as Jake learned to shed his past and move forward into his future. The book moved along at a good clip and I found myself clicking the button to turn the pages on the Nook so I could read what happened next. Mr. Scully's writing style was spare and perfectly suited the tale and time in which it was set. The characters were well developed and I enjoyed getting to know them."

--Broken Teepee

Now that you've read about how terrific this book is, I'm sure you want to own a copy. Well, lucky you, because MuseItUp Publishing and Frank Scully are giving away a e-Copy of Resurrection Garden to two lucky winners.

Here are the details!

1) You must be a follower of The Book Connection to win.

2) For your first entry, visit the publisher's bookstore at and leave a comment saying which book other than Resurrection Garden you would like to read. Please be sure to include a valid email address. You cannot win if I don't have your email address.

3) One additional entry if you friend me on Facebook. Leave a comment with your profile link to show you're friending me.

4) One additional entry if you follow me on Twitter. Leave a comment with your profile link to show you're now a follower.

5) One additional entry if you follow Frank on Twitter. Leave a comment with your profile link to indicate you requested to be a follower.

6) One additional entry if you friend Frank on Facebook. Leave a comment with your profile link to show you're friending me.

7) You must be 18 or older to be eligible to win.

Deadline for entries is 11:59 PM Eastern on Sunday, March 6, 2011. Winner will be selected out of all entrants who followed the rules governing this contest.

The author paid me to coordinate a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Book!
 I received no monetary compensation for this review.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February Romance Novel Event Giveaway: Snakes & Jails & Puppy Dog Tails and Luck of the Irish by Mallary Mitchell

Spinster Arabella Trask loves only one man, but he betrayed her. Levi Wallace left her for another and married the woman who carried his child. Now a widower, Levi is injured and desperately needs Arabella's help. Can she risk her heart again?

As he lays dying from a snake bite...

Levi's one regret is losing Bella. He never had the chance to tell her the child wasn't his. He married to save his brother's sorry hide and give the child a name. He longs to have Bella in his life again--will it take divine intervention to get her back?

30 Pages, Sweet (Historical)

Read an excerpt!

Jackson Springs, Arkansas 1870

“You can’t let him send me to the state penitentiary, Levi. They’ll kill me in there.”
Levi Wallace turned away from his incarcerated brother. He put his palms flat to the wall and rested his forehead against the cool bricks. What his brother asked of him was impossible. He couldn’t do it.

Giles was two years his senior but often seemed so much younger. He was always getting into something. Levi hoped marriage to Hulda McFarland would mature him. It didn’t.

“Why couldn’t you keep your pants on?” Levi finally growled. “You have a wife. Isn’t one woman enough? And if you had to fool around, why on this earth did you choose the sheriff’s daughter?”

Read the reviews!

"This is the kind of story that could easily be made into a full-length novel. Ms. Mitchell has done an amazing job of conveying a whole lot of story in carefully constructed pages. The writing is excellent and makes the journey seem entirely too fast, to the point that you’ll think of the characters long after “The End”. I ached for both Levi and Bella, and as the story unfolded felt my heart melt as they the parted lovers learned the truth and found their happily ever after."

--Long and Short Reviews

Sergeant Ian O'Reilly must find his brother, captured by Confederate forces, but he needs a little luck. Ian's company occupies New Bern, North Carolina, but New Bern holds many treasured memories including those of the lovely southern belle, Olivia Coltrane who stole his heart.

Olivia Coltrane doesn't think about the war. Her parents' deaths has forced her to work as a nurse to support herself and her daughter. When a group of soldier come under her care, she is devastated to find Ian among the wounded. Can their love be rekindled, or does this Yankee have a hidden agenda?

60 Pages Sweet (Historical)

Read the excerpt!

Olivia cupped Ian’s cheek, and teardrops plunked on his chest. He wiggled a bit as she placed her palms on either side of his face, her sweet breath brushed over his cheeks and lips. “Ian? Can you hear me?” For a moment her voice was hopeful. She dropped her head and placed her ear over his heart once again, and her hand gripped his bare shoulder.

"You can’t leave me.” She repeated. “I forbid it. I can’t live without you.”

He couldn’t bear anymore of her sorrow. He lifted his free arm and placed it around her waist.

“Shhhhh, it’s all right, love. I’m not going anywhere.” Speaking was more difficult than he’d anticipated, but he managed a scratchy whisper as he stroked the small of her back. She went still, then stiffened and reached back to remove his hand.

“Ian O’Reilly?”

“Yes?” His throat felt like it had been rubbed with sand.

“How long have you been awake?”

He didn’t answer. She lifted her head, and her eyes flashed fire.

“You lying Irishman!” Her husky voice shook, and she swiped at tears. “How dare you make me think you were dying when all you were doing was faking? Have you been awake the whole time?”

"Mallary Mitchell does a good job of putting us in the situation and yet not getting sidetracked in all the history. There is so much going on in the civil war that we could have gotten lost in any number of areas, but the story stays in its little area, with the characters while explaining all we need to know for the setting and each person. I really enjoyed Luck of the Irish..."

--Sizzling Hot Book Reviews

Mallary Mitchell fell in love with writing at age ten. Two years later she became hooked on romance while staying with her grandmother who always had a big stash of “happily-ever-afters”. When not writing, she spends time with her children who also share her love of writing.

Visit Mallary online at The Wild Rose Press website.

Here's how you can win an e-copy of Snakes & Jails & Puppy Dog Tails and Luck of the Irish!

1) You must be a follower or subscriber of The Book Connection to win.

2) For your first entry, leave a comment with a valid email address. You can't win if you don't provide an email address.

3) One additional entry if you friend me on Facebook. Leave a comment with your profile link to show you're friending me.

4) One additional entry if you follow me on Twitter. Leave a comment with your profile link to show you're a follower.

5) You must be 18 or older to be eligible to win.
Deadline for entries is 11:59 PM Eastern on Sunday, March 6, 2011. Winner will be selected out of all entrants who followed the rules governing this contest.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February Romance Novel Event: Moselle's Insurance by LoRee Peery

Creative artist Moselle Carson gives new life to old items, but she can't seem to renew her shattered ideal of love. When she returns to her hometown to help with a new family business, memories of a broken heart and small-town gossip chip away the tough exterior she's erected over the years. Now she's forced to decide whether she'll rebuild the wall or trust that true love never dies when it is ordained by God.

Generous insurance agent and vulnerable firefighter, Eric Todd, remembers too well how he mistreated Moselle and then set her aside.

Now he longs for true love and the second chance to become a husband and father. Can he learn to forgive himself and still keep the secret that may redeem him in her eyes?

Read an excerpt!
“You haven’t grown an inch.” He lightly touched the top of her head, then simultaneously tapped her crown and squeezed her shoulder. “But I have.”

Eric gently moved her out of the way. “Check it out.”

Without thinking, Moselle grabbed his arm for balance while she inserted her feet back into her shoes. Even with heels, she had to stand on tiptoe to reach the woodwork behind his head.

Moselle swallowed.

Eric surrounded her.

Heat rose in her cheeks. Somehow, she managed to croak, “Two inches sound about right?”

He didn’t answer. She sensed his gaze searching her face. His breath moved the wispy hairs at her temple.

Would they be in their own laundry room if the past had been rewritten? She’d never let herself pursue that dream of marriage to Eric after their break-up.

“You’re lovely today, Moselle, as always. The colors you wear make you look Irish somehow.” He flicked the circles at her left ear and let his hand rest on her shoulder. “But this wolf suspended in silver is definitely not Irish.”

They grinned at one another.

“Having a hard time staying mad at me, Moze?”

“To be angry, a person has to care.”

“Oh, I think you care, sweets. You just don’t want to admit it to yourself.”

He moved a thumb. The rough touch felt feather-light over the pulse pounding at her throat. The sensation traveled all the way down to her knees. He lifted a finger and traced her bottom lip. She moaned a silent melt at the airy feeling in her head.

His voice came as a raspy whisper, “It’s easier not to care, isn’t it?”

Read the reviews!

"This story ... reminds us that everything is in God's timing, not ours. Even though our path may lead us astray from God, once you have accepted him in your heart and soul he is never away from us. He waits patiently for us to accept the love he gives freely.
This story show us that God loves us and wants only the best for us even if we don't know what the best is. This story is a true love story of God. I loved the characters and the setting of the town."

--Happily Ever After Reviews

"I highly recommend this book by Ms. Peery. It will certainly be a hit and is written so that anyone can read it. Look for this author to obtain high recognition."

--The Romance Studio

"Mozelle’s Insurance is a wonderful story that will warm the heart of any reader."

--TwoLips Reviews


LoRee Peery has written for many years. She is drawn to reunion stories because the past often needs to be dealt with before we can move on in life. MOSELLE’S INSURANCE is the first in a series centered around Frivolities, a crafty, kooky shop in a small fictitious Nebraska town. The creative owners have fun as they deal with life issues and they take spiritual issues seriously. The timing of God bringing love into their lives takes each one by surprise, since their initial focus is on their main street business.

LoRee attempts to see God’s presence every day. Often that gift comes from nature, and she is most relaxed in the outdoors. The call of a cardinal draws her to look for the distinctive flash of crimson. A meadowlark’s melody always transports her to the farm where she grew up. A rainbow holds special significance, since one appeared the day of her father’s funeral and means the promise of the Lord’s presence in her life.

Nature is great, but the people God creates are the miracles. What could be better than a grandchild’s smile and a young voice greeting, “Grandma!” Well, maybe the hug that follows.

Visit LoRee online at:!/profile.php?id=100001026072997

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dealing with Distraction by Erin Bassett, Author of Clock Work

Today's guest blogger is Erin Bassett, author of the urban fantasy online series, Clock Work.

When Esther St. Claire rejoins her sophomore year a semester late she expects a relatively quiet return.

But odd things begin to happen even before she can get to campus; starting with a strange encounter with a new student that escalates to attacks on Westin Academy’s student body by creatures thought to exist only in fairy tales in a myths.
An other worldly battle is going on and somehow Esther is the key.

"Dealing with Distraction" by Erin Bassett

Most writers nest. We dig in, create a space and make ourselves at home before we start work. And for a good percentage of us it's at home. The appeal of writing in your pajamas with whatever beverage of choice readily available and literally surrounded by the comforts of home is hard to resist. But, inevitably, those comforts tend to become distractions. The cat runs across the key board, the kid's boredom demands alleviation only you can give or, if you're like me, the laundry and dirty dishes start to seep into your mind creating a mental block. And even if you aren't bombarded with the everyday there's the mother of all distractions: the Internet. What's a writer to do? Well i have come up with a few simple tricks that keep me focused and the distractions at bay.

1. For those lucky enough to live with loved ones or liked ones: Tell them what you are doing. Don't just hole up in your writer's space with no warning or explanation. If you don't at least attempt to communicate how important your writing time is, how will anyone in the house know?

2. Good way to get at least an hour of uninterrupted time from little ones? Put on a movie for them. My mom used to use don't Wake Your Mom with Lamb Chop. Dating myself aside, I was thoroughly entertained for an hour and mom got a nap. There's also the option of a day sitter. I used to go over to a neighbour’s house and babysit two kids while their mom practiced karate in the basement. She got her time and we had fun upstairs.

3. Really addicted to the net? Can't resist the temptation to tweet? Put your iPhone in the next room and pull up the timer on your computer. Or get a cooking timer. Set it for 45 minutes. Tell yourself once you have got 45 solid mins of writing then you can go check out face book or tweet. But once again time yourself. Five or so minuets then back to writing. Slowly up the writing time and decrease the distraction time. It will really help time management and slowly break the Net addiction. Then maybe the next time you tweet it will be to tell everyone you have a finished manuscript!

Now, that said, I’m a firm believer that you cannot force a muse. Sometimes the mind is just too full of other things to be creative. It happens to the best of us.

I hope you find these little tricks helpful. And remember: You are not a writer unless you write! So get past those distractions and write on!

E.L. Bassett, informally Erin and familiarly Rin, has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Before that she was prone to telling you all about how her sister was an alien and her dog pulled carts for garden fairies and dragging you into to the backyard to show you were Flybys (insect like creatures with powers over the elements) were nesting. Her penchant for the fantastic carried through grade school, evolving into a fascination with Dragons. She was constantly in the library reading everything she could, which of course led to the discovery of J.R.R Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. She then knew she wanted to be a writer and her main genre would be fantasy.
In 4th grade she participated in the ECISD annual Oral Traditions Competition, her story being one complete with unicorns and ogres, taking home 6th place in the city. She can still recall the first 5 lines, which probably has a lot to do with the unicorn.

After joining the North Texas Speculative Fiction Writer’s Workshop while studying at TCU she was included in their chapter book with the science fiction story: Spirit of Hope. Since then she has been published in Indigo Rising, Raven Images and Abandoned Towers Magazine and has a chapbook published by Diminuendo Press.
The serial Clock Work came about when the Managing Editor at Abandoned Towers contacted Erin with the offer. After writing up a brief synopsis on two of the, many, works in progress, Clock Work was chosen. From there illustrator Juliet Doherty was found and the project came to life.

Erin enjoys off beat, out the ordinary writing of the urban fantasy persuasion, but also revels in classic fantasy stories with gripping battles, wizards, dragons or monsters, and epic fight scenes set in far off, mythical or fantastic places. Her book shelves are packed with everything from Holly Black, Martin Miller and Terry Pratchett to Christy Lijewski, Dean Koontz and Hal Duncan.

Erin Bassett is Senior Editor for CW Productions and her serial Clock Work airs every 5th of the month here:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pump Up Your Book's Feb 2011 Facebook Party!


Pump Up Your Book will be hosting the February 2011 Authors on Tour on Friday February 25, 2011 at 9 – 11 p.m. (eastern time – adjust to your time zone). Tell your book friends that not only will this give them an opportunity to chat with their favorite authors BUT…


The participating authors and their giveaways include:

Rose Valenta is giving away a paperback copy of her humor book, Sitting on Cold Porcelain.

Allan Leverone is giving away an e-copy of his thriller, Final Vector, and 6 e-copies of Postcards from the Apocalypse.

Frank Edwards is giving away a paperback copy of his medical thriller, Final Mercy and a paperback copy of his poetry and short story book, It’ll Ease the Pain.

Pamela Samuels Young will be giving away a paperback copy of her legal thriller, Murder on the Down Low, and a copy of her audio CD, How to Write a Novel Despite Your Day Job.

Sheila Hendrix will be giving away both a paperback copy and e-book copy of her YA paranormal, The Betrayal.

Cynthia Kocialski will be giving away a paperback copy of her startup business book, Startup from the Ground Up.

C.W. Gortner will be giving away a paperback copy of his historical mystery, The Tudor Secret.

Vincent Zandri will be giving away 2 autographed copies of his thriller, Moonlight Falls & 2 autographed copies of his thriller, The Remains!

Jeanne C. Davis will be giving away a paperback copy of her psychological mystery, Sheetrock Angel!

Frank Scully will be giving away an e-copy of his mystery novel, Resurrection Garden!

Pump Up Your Book will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift certificate!!!!

To find out the details, visit our Facebook Party page here! Be sure to join the link a few days ahead of time so that you can be approved before the party starts.

February Romance Novel Event: Season for Miracles by Clare Revell

A Killer lurks in Headley Cross…

…And Holly Carmichael is the only woman to survive his attack. Now she lives in fear, searching for normalcy and trying to put her life back together. When she meets Kyle Stevens, he turns her world upside-down. He’s as exasperating as he is appealing. How can Holly make sense of her awakening feelings when she’s so unsure of Kyle? His voice is familiar, he’s left-handed, and he wears the serial killer’s cologne. Who is he…really? As Holly struggles to restore her damaged faith, she must find the strength to trust once again—in Kyle and in God.

Kyle Stevens isn’t ready to live again. Racked by guilt, he’s afraid to feel. His sole focus is finding the Headley Cross serial killer—his girlfriend's murderer. That is, until he meets Holly Carmichael. He’s drawn to Holly, vows to protect her where he failed to protect his former love. But Holly makes him feel again, emotions quickly morphing into something much more dangerous to his hardened heart.

When the serial killer returns to finish what he started, only a miracle can save them…but then, it's the Season for Miracles.

Read an excerpt!

Kyle’s voice came from a long way off, and Holly had to concentrate to hear it. “I’m sorry, Holly. He’s normally pretty well behaved, but he’s never seen snow before and is a little over-excited. Plus he was on his own all day yesterday. Are you all right?”

Holly nodded. The headache upped a notch. That was a stupid thing to do.

“Can you stand?”

She moved her head a little as Kyle helped her to her feet. She brushed the snow from her coat and tried to focus on the man. His hat, pulled down over his ears, hid his hair. Her head pounded, stars danced in front of her eyes, and it was all she could do to stand upright.

I want to sit down. Please, let me sit down. The words echoed in her mind, but she wasn’t sure she’d said them aloud. He didn’t respond.

His deep voice reverberated as he pulled off his glove. “Are you sure you’re all right?”

Holly nodded for a third time. She had a huge lump in her throat and she struggled to breathe. Her legs didn’t want to hold up, but she didn’t want a fuss. Fingers tingled inside her glove where he held her hand. His grip kept her upright.

Kyle’s other hand cradled the back of her head. Holly winced as he found and examined the lump. His touch increased the pain by a magnitude of five. Kyle checked his fingers and relief crossed his face at the lack of blood. “Holly? Please, say something. Otherwise I’ll have to assume Orion ate your tongue.”

Read the reviews!

"This is definitely a book worth reading for it has everything just right for the season: God and hope. Great job and I definitely would read more of her books to come."

--Happily Ever After Reviews

" A nice combination of romance and suspense (not to mention holiday), it has something for everyone."

--Laura Briggs, author of Only in Novels

"If you're looking for a sweet romance, with true to life struggles, mixed with a gentle faith, you won't want to miss Ms. Revell's book, SEASON FOR MIRACLES."

--JoAnn Carter, author of Daniella and Sweet Rest


Clare Revell is a wife and mother of three grown children. She is the author of Saving Christmas and Season for Miracles. She likes to read, write, and cross-stitch.

You can find Clare online at:

on Twitter @CLRevell and

Facebook at:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

February Romance Novel Event: Saving Christmas by Clare Revell

Rather than do the expected thing, Christmas Daniels, pursued a high powered career in London, flying across the world, never being home long enough for anything. When her father is taken ill, she returns to Hollies Christmas Emporium, an all year round Christmas shop to run it in his absence.

Matt Pringle, store artist and accountant, doesn't make a good impression on his new boss when he accuses her of stealing his parking space. Wanting to make up for it, he tries to impress her, but ends up falling for her instead.

When the store is threatened with closure, Christmas, who insists on being called Chrissie sacrifices everything to try to save it. A committed Christian, Matt knows that Chrissie needs saving just as much. Will their growing attraction help Matt save Christmas before it’s too late?

Read an excerpt!

Taking a deep breath, he stuck out a hand. “Can we start over? My name’s Matt Pringle. It’s a pleasure to meet you Miss Daniels. How’s your father doing?”

Her hand was cool, yet her touch burned him. “It’s Chrissie, please. I called earlier and they said he had a good night. I can go in at two. Now this parking space of yours...”

“It’s yours. I can walk. It’s not that far and I have an umbrella. I’m sorry I was late.” He looked at her. “I’ll go and get started.”

“Sure.” Chrissie flopped down at the desk. Matt looked at her. Her skirt was wet, her shoes ruined and she looked exhausted. Her blue eyes and black hair looking almost bedraggled, if eyes as lovely as hers could look bedraggled. She was the most amazing woman he’d ever seen.

Matt turned and left the office, almost colliding with Grace and a tray of tea and biscuits as he went down the corridor. “Sorry, Grace. Say, what do you know about her?”

“Chrissie? Known her for years. She hates her name with a passion. Her parents expected her to run this place when she graduated, but she chose a partnership in a large firm in London instead. Shame really, the job changed her, she doesn’t have time for anything anymore.” Grace smiled at him. “Trust me, not even you can work your magic on our Christmas Ivy Daniels.” She headed into the office, pushing the door shut behind her.

Matt pursed his lips. He couldn’t let that happen. There was something about her; something lost that drew him to her. She was lost and needed help, whether she knew it or not—and he was determined to give it to her.

Read the reviews!
"What a wonderful, heartwarming little book! I loved it from page one."
--Delia Latham, author of Destiny's Dream
"Clare Revell does it again with this beautiful story of hope and redemption."
--Mary Manners, author of Tender Mercies

Clare Revell is a wife and mother of three grown children. She is the author of Saving Christmas and Season for Miracles. She likes to read, write, and cross-stitch.

You can find Clare online at:

on Twitter @CLRevell and

Facebook at: